It is estimated that e-commerce sector in UK will witness annual growth of 6% till 2014. Further, as per Forrester Research, about 37 million British will shop online in 2014 by expending more ? 163. 57 billion on the whole as against 28 million who are shopping online currently. According to recent” IMRG Capgemini e-Retail index “which demonstrates that British outlay on purchases made through internet increased by 19 % year to year basis in January 2009. (Marvellousmedia. com 2009). As of date, total internet users in the world is around 1,581,571,600 individuals and is about 26% of the world population is using internet on daily basis.
(Internetworldstats. com). This era can be termed as “e” age since ‘e-marketing’ is the new phrase for marketing and e-CRM is the recent aligning of Customer Relationship Management. As of today, e-commerce is an inevitable part of selling strategies for the majority of B-2-B companies. The role of internet in the B-2-B world is ever widening and its significance is growing eternally as internet has become a gateway to global marketing. E-commerce can be referred as business transaction that has been carried out either by a website or through e-mail or through the internet.
Thus, e-commerce is attaining significance nowadays and it could be the major form of business in the ensuing days. The growing significance of e-commerce in UK have boosted and developed of E-Commerce law in the United Kingdom. As e-commerce transactions are different from that of ordinary business deals in the normal course, the legal issues concerning the jurisdiction, signature is raising unlimited legal issues in UK. This research essay will be analysing about the role of e-commerce in UK and its legal implications in detail.
Analysis UK government has set an agenda that all of its government services should be available electronically with major services attaining high standards of use. According to DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), UK is now having the second best atmosphere for e-commerce among G7 countries. E-Commerce has offered a major opportunity for key cost saving and eradication or cutting of supply chains. The electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 came in to effect in UK with effect from 21st August 2002.
The above directive was implemented to harmonise and demonstrate the rules governing of on-line business in the Europe with the sole objective of increasing confidence of consumers. According to DTI ( Department of Trade and Industry , UK) , the above regulation not only covers purchases and sales through online but also extends to retrieval of information or trade communications or offering mechanism for access ,search and retrieval of data. This regulation also extends to the services like web hosting, video on demand and operation of a communication network.
This regulation is applicable to “information society services” which connotes any service normally offered for a pay or remuneration, at a distance, through electronic equipment for the storage and procession of data and at the request by individual of the service receiver. A “country of origin “ is being applied under this regulation which means a UK based business has to comply the UK laws only and not concerned with the laws of other member states. However, intellectual property rights like copyright, real estate transfers, e-money, matters relating to “spam” are given exemption to country of origin principle.
The country of origin rule can be overridden by a Member State in the following scenarios and it can enforce its own regulations against a supplier of another Member State. ? Safeguarding the public health ? National and public security ? Safeguarding the interest of consumers ? If it is against public policy In Britannia Building Society v Prangley, the plaintiff claimed a summary judgment for passing off against the defendant for using its name for registering a domain name for his website.
It was held by the court that the domain name was intrinsically misleading and tantamount to a mechanism of fraud. (Graham 2007:181). In Global Projects Management Ltd v Citigroup Inc, it was held by the court that claimant maintained the domain name “citigroup. co. uk” as a mechanism of fraud and that in respect of passing off and also infringement of a registered trade mark. (Graham 2007:182) The jurisdiction for the above regulations will be decided by where business is located and not where equipments are located.
For instance, if servers are placed in New York and business is carried from London, then the above regulations will be applicable. This regulation is applicable to wide range of e-commerce activities. The Supreme Court of Austria held that this directive is relevant to a synergistic erotica webcam service. (Graham et al 2007:792). The above regulation is silent about the place of litigation. However, in case of any dispute, it elucidates the applicable law in certain scenarios. Some of the exception to the above regulation is gambling, tax, lotteries, cartel and data protection statues.
The above regulation is more beneficial to UK sellers as UK is having liberal retail laws than other members in the Europe. For instance, a Germany e-business may have to adhere with any German limitations on promotional offers whereas an UK business competitor can circumvent such limitations even in the cases where sales are made to German buyer. According to a study carried over by Dennis et al in 2002, the online shoppers in UK are worried with the payment and security features of purchasing products through online. (Khosrowpour et al 2004:79)